Police officer was hit by 50mph train as horrified parents listened on phone

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A tragic police officer was hit by a 50mph train as her horrified parents listened on the phone, an inquest heard.

PC Lianne Matthews, 38, climbed down onto the tracks after fearing she was going to lose her job as a schools liaison officer.

The mum-of-three had previously been fined £1,000 and given a 20-month driving ban for drink-driving and being drunk in charge of a child.

But the hearing was told PC Matthews, based in Roath, Cardiff, "changed her mind" about killing herself after speaking to her parents on the phone.

Her family said they had convinced her not to commit suicide as she stood on the tracks – only to tragically hear the noise of an approaching engine while still on the call.

In a statement read to the court, Lianne's sister Heather Holsgrove said: "Lianne called my mother and was on loudspeaker as my mother wanted my father to hear. She was crying and said 'do you know what it feels like not wanting to be here?'"

PC Matthews was convinced to go home to her children but her parents then heard the hooting of the approaching train followed by silence.

The hearing was told Lianne was declared dead 20 minutes after the impact at Energlyn and Churchill Park, near Caerphilly.

Investigating officer DC Dilwyn Lewis said Lianne's position on the track was not consistent with someone attempting suicide and the inquest heard CCTV footage showed her facing the platform.

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Train driver Andrew Lee told the inquest the train was travelling at 50mph and was given the green signal to pass through the station.

He said: "Suddenly I saw an image in front of me. I thought it was a young person with a backpack.

"We looked directly at each other before impact. I tried to apply the emergency brakes but couldn't stop in time and came to a stop a few hundred metres down the track."

PC Matthews was facing a police misconduct hearing for "discreditable conduct".

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She joined the force in 2006 and her partner Geraint Higgins is a serving police officer as a detective in the same force.

Mr Higgins told the hearing he didn't believe she had committed suicide.

He said: "Lianne was a beautiful girl who had a very caring nature. She was the most devoted mother in have ever seen.

"The last text I sent Lianne said how much I loved her.

"I believe alcohol and anxiety caused her to go onto the train line but she didn't intend to take her own life.

Assistant coroner for Gwent, Sarah le Fevre, recorded a narrative conclusion.

At the time of her death South Wales Police said: "The officer's family are currently being supported by specially-trained officers and our thoughts remain very much with them, her friends and colleagues who are grieving at this time.

"The officer's death is being investigated by British Transport Police.

"She had been due to appear before a misconduct hearing in March to answer an allegation of discreditable conduct, following a conviction at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates' Court on September 9."

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

  • Inquests

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